And you answered questions starting with the main questions we knew people were going to ask. So I – I think Christian people need to get to the point where instead of seeing the sovereignty of God as some kind of intrusion or – or some kind of impossible thing to explain, they need to see the sovereignty of God as the most encouraging, hopeful, blessed of all realities that you’re never – you’re never able to drift from His control, which is driving you to the purpose. To him be glory forever. We chose those conversations based on questions we hear from listeners and questions that, frankly, we grapple with sometimes ourselves. I mean, it was pretty direct when He drowned the whole world. The Bible has lots of … Register. PHIL: Basically declares His own sovereignty. And I said, you know, this – this sort of mass movement over here, what – what brought you here? JOHN: I don’t know that there’s any way for me to come to 100 percent comfortable position because there’s always this nagging reality in – in your mind that there are people who have literally been fitted into a divine purpose that ends up in damnation. . What you have to understand is that that does not honor God. Yes, He did. JOHN: So they’re trying to divest God of a responsibility that He’s perfectly willing to accept. Absolutely. We’re grateful for your faithfulness and your wisdom and thanks for sharing this time with us. And again, we’re back to the folks who came to the church and said, “We can’t live under the sovereignty of Satan.”. PHIL: Now see, immediately we run headlong into the problem of evil. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. Deborah Fagan Schultz. You know, I don’t need to live a certain kind of holy life. JOHN: Trying to get a handle on it, yeah. JOHN: I think it is everywhere in Scripture. Third, in relation to civic power and authority, there is the question of God’s sovereignty in the determination of rulers and government. I can live joyfully, you know, in a – in a world, whatever the issues are in that world, knowing that a good God for His own glory is managing every single thing that’s going on. That is not what God desires the person to do, but it will not in any sense overpower the final purpose of God and He will – He will work these things into His intention. PHIL: The other major difficulty that people have with the sovereignty of God in salvation is the question of evangelism. You are welcome Nick. Like – like other things, we can know that that’s what the Bible says but not fully comprehend how that works out or – or why things are the way they are, if that is in fact true. Wow, God put him in. JOHN: He is sovereign, and it is His plan that He would be glorified in judgment as He would be glorified in salvation. The heart of a king is in the hand of the Lord, He turns it however He wants. Thanks for your time, John, and thanks for, as you always do, shedding biblical light on difficult questions like this for us. God has – so you grew up, nice Christian boy in a nice Christian family thinking that everything was kind of flying around in a random world and God somehow intervened here and there and saved a few people to take them to heaven. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." 3) When my kids got older, they would sometimes question me persistently about a decision that I have made. It’s non-existent. You go back to the fact that you rejected. 6 thoughts on “ Hard Questions: God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility ” Nick. God’s sovereignty has nothing to do with causing violence, pain, and suffering in the world. Few are interested in whether we have the free will to choose salad or steak for our dinner tonight. And then, how are they going to call on Him whom they have not heard? Second, there is the question of ethics. JOHN: Well sure. The Father, in His sovereignty, places the limitations upon the attack. Question: "Is God sovereign or do we have a free will?" The will to create was entirely God’s. This article is also available and sold as a booklet. So I love the fact that that tension is there, that God holds the rejecting sinner, the unbelieving sinner fully responsible for his rejection. He loves me; He loves me not.” In response, some people have insisted that God has the right to do whatever He pleases and it is none of our business to find fault with Him—a point that Paul himself anticipates (Rom. The inteded audience was parochial or church goers. But I think the most typical wrong response to the doctrine of sovereign – or the sovereignty of God in salvation is indifference. That was – that was a very direct, sovereign act. JOHN: I really see You as sovereign and I repent in dust and ashes. I mean, the end is already determined. As a believer, I’m free to obey or disobey, right? And I – I’ve said this through the years in my teaching that when the Lord Jesus came into the world, He could have done all kinds of things to demonstrate His deity. . The Next 500 Years: 2017 National Conference, Show Me Your Glory: Understanding the Majestic Splendor of God, La Biblia de Estudio de La Reforma, Spanish Edition, Naming Ligonier the Beneficiary of a Bank or Investment Account, Gifts That Provide Income and Tax Benefits. PHIL: Yeah, you could say that Joseph lived this conversation, as well. PHIL: And in the punishment of evil doers, His justice is put on display. You have to ask the question; how does it affect God? The assertion of divine sovereignty is not without further questions that should be addressed. The – the assumption is the fatalism takes over and what is going to be is going to be and you forget that within the purpose of God to accomplish His saving end, there are freedoms, right? And I think the definitive statement there is, “I am God and there is no other.”. Is God in control? We’ve talked about the doctrine of election, and most recently the problem of apostasy. Characteristics such as truthfulness, goodness, faithfulness, righteousness, and love define God’s every action. GDPR is the new European privacy regulation, which will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK and the equivalent legislation across the EU Member States. How will they hear without a preacher? There are dangers, aren’t there with this doctrine? I went to the funeral and I asked somebody, “What – what happened? ANSWER: "Sovereignty is God's control over His creation, dealing with His governance over it: Sovereignty is God's rule over all reality." These are common questions and they all share the same fallacy, right? And, by knowing Him, we can choose to trust Him with our lives. You know, I don’t – I don’t need to manifest righteousness to show a transformed life because God’s going to save who He’s going to save. Even though Nero instituted the harshest kind of persecution, Paul is still saying that God ordained him. I can honestly tell you, I don’t think I ever heard the answer. John, we’ve done a number of these studio interviews over the years, going back, I think – I think the first one we ever did was on September 11, 2001. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is sometimes abused by well-meaning believers who affirm the doctrine but abuse it in different ways. It says, “The heart of man plans his way –. While the sovereignty of God is infinite, the use of His power is defined by His other attributes. He could have said “house” and there could have been a house. Everyone ends up with the question of God’s sovereignty and the question of evil; denying calvinism does not get you out of the dilemma. So that reaffirms the Great Commission. Absolutely. In fact, they would go so far as to say no one knows what’s going to happen in the future because nothing has happened in the future and therefore God can’t know what hasn’t happened because it hasn’t happened. Satan killed your pastor to – to cancel out a divine plan? .He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). And yet, Scripture is explicit, right? He never makes a comment about the government, other than to pay your taxes. And this is the thing –. All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. I have a difficult time comprehending that. The first step in understanding the compatibility between God’s sovereignty and human will is to recognize that they are not mutually exclusive, and Scripture makes this absolutely clear. In fact, I would argue that denying calvinism takes away sovereignty from God and instead makes him dependent upon man’s actions. If He does, then why didn't He? If one attribute were disproportionate or over-emphasized, chaos would result on a universal level. If God is ordained, who is going to be saved? As King of all creation, God exercises His sovereignty throughout the world. Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver’s seat with us as passengers. © 2021 Grace to You. JOHN: He declared His sovereignty to Job and said, “You’re not in charge. Was it Spurgeon who said – somebody asked him the same question, “Why do you evangelize all the time if people are elect?” He said, “Well if you’ll help me pull up their shirt so I can see if they have an “E” stamped on their back, you know, that would help.” Since we don’t know who – I actually had a prominent well-known preacher tell me one of his children was not elect, who, by the way, has since come to confess Christ. They’ve been at this now two years plus, they’re months from the cross and the true believers are a small little group. God has raised up civil governments to be systems of equity and good and peace, for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them who do well (Rom. Each assertion is a variant of divine sovereignty. PHIL: And then the New Testament parallel to that verse we started with in Isaiah would be Ephesians 1:11 which says, “God works all things after the counsel of His own will.”. JOHN: Well that’s a pretty – pretty limited view of God to think that and that sort of maybe overestimates your own importance? Mysteries are forced upon us by the facts of God’s Word; we are not inventing them ourselves.
So by God’s definition, this was the determined righteous thing for Him to do. So whatever happens is what He purposed to happen, right? It is inescapable, everywhere in Scripture God is designated clearly and revealed to be sovereign. 16:33). THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. JOHN: We know why it happened because Satan came to God and God – and said, “Yeah, Job only serves You because You bless him.” And He said, “I’ll prove different.” God was proving a point to Satan, we know that, Job never knew that. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). If I’m disobedient, I can’t say, “Well, it doesn’t matter, it wasn’t supposed to be me. God has revealed these attributes about Himself so we can know who He is. Log In